(The Center Square) – A new study shows that Illinois has one of the highest rates of alcohol-related motorcycle fatalities.
To find the most dangerous states for motorcycle riders, QuoteWizard looked at fatalities from 2010 to 2020. Researcher Nick VinZant found that motorcycle deaths were heavily influenced by three factors: climate, helmet use and alcohol.
“Illinois in 2019 had 138 motorcycle fatalities, 137 of those involved alcohol,” VinZant said. “So 99% of fatal motorcycle accidents in Illinois involved alcohol.”
That ranks Illinois as the 9th highest in the nation. Eight states recorded 100% of motorcycle fatalities involved alcohol, including Illinois’ neighbor Iowa.
The study also compared helmet use from 2019 to 2020. While helmet use declined by 7% nationwide, it increased in the Midwest from 2019 to 2020 by over 10%.
“One of the things that can save motorcycle riders lives is wearing a helmet, and to see that decrease by 7% is a concerning statistic,” VinZant said.
Illinois does not have a helmet law, but motorcyclists are required to protect their eyes with glasses, goggles or a transparent shield. Eighteen states require helmet use while on a motorcycle.
In 2019, 2,972 motorcyclists died in an accident while wearing a helmet.
VinZant said climate plays an important role when looking at the most dangerous states for motorcycle riders. The study found that warmer, southern states with weather conducive to riding have the highest rates of motorcycle deaths.
Louisiana is the most dangerous state for motorcycle riders, followed by South Carolina and Mississippi.